Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Great guest post that speaks to the benefits of Green Design in the work space.  Many of these principles and practices are scalable to the residential environment too.

S Interior Design encourages eco-friendly design elements where ever feasible for their projects residential and commercial.

 

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Protecting the environment has become a vital issue for many people. As the need for environmentally conscious ways of living increases, businesses are now doing their part to introduce green initiatives into their workspaces.
Listed here are 5 examples of the most interesting and creative green work environments that have been developed by companies in recent years. Each example goes out to prove the various tactics that industry leaders are tackling in order to accomplish, essentially, their most important job: preserving the environment!

green 1
Seattle’s Bullitt Center
Considered the greenest business building in the world, the Bullitt Center in Seattle has over 50,000 square feet of space and uses a small percentage of the energy normally required for commercial buildings.  It has been designed to create its own energy source by using solar panel technology. But because Seattle has relatively little sunshine throughout the year, the Bullitt Center also utilizes the grid when needed.  The building contains showers on each of its floors and has no automobile parking on its premises. It does provide covered parking for bicycles, encouraging occupants to use bikes in place of cars.

Skanska, Väla Gård 120925Foto: Klas Andersson
Skanska’s Green Building
Skanska’s office building is located on a former farm in Sweeden. It’s the nation’s first Deep Green building and has a net-zero energy consumption level. No hazardous materials were used for its construction, and none of the waste produced during the process ended up in landfills.

Similar to the Bullitt Center, Skanska’s green workspace uses a solar power system for its energy. The building uses heat recovery units that help reuse a large percentage of heat that would otherwise be lost in outgoing air. The building cost $5 million and used locally sourced materials in its construction.

The Jones Lang LaSalle building prioritized non-hazardous materials in its construction and recycled approximately 75 percent of the waste produced. The building uses sensors to monitor daylight and occupancy as a means of controlling its energy requirements. This creative green workspace was able to reduce its water use by 40 percent along with an overall energy reduction of 13 percent. But perhaps more significant was the result it had on the building’s occupants.  When looking at the number of sick days of its employees, the company discovered that absenteeism was lowered by over 30 percent. The green technology led to fewer sick days among workers, pushing the notion that going green isn’t just beneficial for the environment, but for the people as well!
Lohre and Associates
Cincinnati saw the green workplace revolution appear in the workspace of Lohre and Associates. It saved considerable costs both in its construction and in its operation. Scraps from carpet and wood were recycled and composted in the building process, while old window blinds were reused. The building features creative green bathroom technology that uses hand-washing adapters that funnel sink water into toilets, which in turn, reduces massive amounts of water usage.

green 3
Energy Systems Design

Energy Systems Design utilized environmentally-friendly energy controls, plumbing and lighting systems within their green workspace. Although limited in their ability to renovate the existing structure, they found creative ways to design a greener workspace.   Throughout the building, recycled materials such as used glass and wood were utilized in a remarkable act of turning junk into something new. Also, rubber cork tiles were used for the building’s flooring, which helped to further the project’s resourcefulness and aesthetic appeal. The result of is a set of high-efficiency units that save energy and reduce costs.
The possibilities are endless…

Plenty of other companies now, too, are joining the green workspace revolution, by initializing smarter design tactics that consist of recycled and eco-friendly materials. To some it may mean resorting to more heavily involved projects such as harvesting solar power and implementing smart water systems to cut down wasteful consumption, but to others, it may be something as simple as installing glass balustrades, such as those offered by Aqua Vista Glass. A solution like this allows for the use of more natural light to indoor spaces and less dependency on timber resources. This saves energy and costs for business owners, while creating a more naturally lit open space that promotes a smarter, eco-friendly standard.

As more people become conscious of the need to reduce waste and energy consumption, eco-friendly workspaces will become the norm. Employees will reap the benefits of a greener work environment, and will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are part of the solution, and not the problem.

Image credit: wikipedia.org and http://www. group.skanska.com/
Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who travels frequently. She is interested in all forms of green design, particularly those modern, clever ideas that can help in protecting the environment.

 

Master Bedroom Makeovers-A Short Video

Master Bedroom Makeovers by S Interior Design- We all love a movie right? Short and sweet with some nice music to go along 🙂

 

Amazing Reclaimed-Recycled Teak

This week I visited Underfoot, a amazing trade only resource for flooring and counter top materials for every space and design imaginable.  While I was there, one of the owners was excited to share Indo Teak Design with me.

Image

This is teak wood that is recycled from the  beams and posts of historic buildings in India slated for demolition.  All three layers of the IndoTeak engineered wood floors are composed of the reclaimed teak (unlike most engineered floors that use ply wood for the substrate) making it truly eco-friendly.

The options are amazing!  Choose a finish-smooth, wire brushed, a natural patina.  The teak can be stained using a plant based natural oil finish with zero VOCs and no harmful chemicals.  You can choose from seven colors.

See the colorful boards showing pinks, blues and greens?  That is what they call a patchwork of painted and finished teak wood reminiscent of traditional Balinese fishing boats the “jukung”.

Image

So, if you are in the market for a unique, eco-friendly, hard wearing and great looking floor–check out
IndoTeak.  If you are in the Phoenix area, stop by Underfoot to see and touch it!

If you need design ideas of how to incorporate IndoTeak into your home or office, give S Interior Design a call!

WALLS That Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

Here at S Interior Design we are always on the look out for unique and environmentally friendly options to use in our design projects.  When we were asked to take a look at this product, it got an A+ rating on both counts.  So, we are pleased to share with you, and promote the product for the manufacturer.

That’s right –these are eco friendly 3d-wallpanels made out of Sugarcane bagasse

Eco 3d-wallpanels give an extra dimension to your walls!

WallArt will bring your walls to life with their eco friendly 3d-wallpanels made out of the fibrous residue of sugarcane also called bagasse. This fibres of crushed sugarcane stalks, remaining after raw sugar is extracted from the juice of the sugarcane by shredding it, is now the raw material that forms the base of this easily installed eco friendly interior product. The raw material used for WallArt 3d-wallpanels is 100% recycled, compostable and therefore 100% biodegradable.

WallArt 3d wall panels are all made out of a renewable source which is biodegradable and therefore contribute to sustainability. Bagasse, as a residue of sugarcane, is one of the world’s most renewable sources because sugarcane can be harvested up to 3 times a year. The total harvest worldwide is more than 1.2 billion metric tons yearly and out of each 3 ton of sugarcane there remains 1 ton of bagasse. By using this recycled raw material we can say this 3d-wallpaper is a real eco decor product.

WallArt introduced their 3d-wallcovering in Europe in 2011. They’ve been the first entering the market with this eco friendly home decor and interior product. At this moment there are 12 different models of the WallArt 3d wall panels available, for more information about WallArt and their 3d decorating wall panels please go to their website http://www.mywallart.com and check it out. WallArt 3d decorative wall panels are not only environmentally friendly but the 3d effect give an extra dimension to your walls!

http://www.mywallart.com

6 Eco-Friendly Options 4 The Office

I am pleased to share a wonderful blog post from a guest blogger Angela Taylor a blogger and aspiring designer.   While there is a lot of information focusing on green/eco-friendly options for the home, this is a wonderful focused look at what we can do specifically for our home or small office spaces in that regard.  Take a read and implement some of the great ideas!

Bamboo Dry Erase

 

6 Simple Eco-Friendly Elements for a Visually Striking Home Office

Green products for an environmentally-friendly work environment

The home office combines your professional and personal life—so it should, rightly so, be a reflection of you. Unfortunately, the home office is usually an after-thought and designated to a corner in your kitchen or living room. If you’re concerned about the environment, there are green products that you can incorporate into your home office to make it more environmentally friendly and more visually appealing as well. Considering this home office will be where you spend the majority of your day, it would make sense to make it as comfortable, functional and attractive as possible.

Here are our 6 simple Eco-friendly product recommendations for a visually pleasing home office that you can get inspired in:

1. Eco-friendly wall décor: Green wall décor is offered in various patterns and textures—plus it’s better for your health than conventional wallpapers that can contain chemicals. Look into attractive wall décor and coverings like:

  • Glass whiteboards—or glass dry erase boards provide a natural and safe surface for brainstorming
  • Eco-friendly wallpaper— made from natural renewable bamboo, rice paper, flax, cork, arrowroot and a mish-mash of recycled papers
  • Reed, cattail and paper weave murals—make beautiful wall décor with delicate dried leaves and natural grasses twisted together and making unique wall art
  • Ceramic and mica photo frames—are constructed from natural sands in the soil and formed into a beautiful variety of colors and sizes

2. Recycled office furniture: You can find some really great eclectic pieces of second hand office furniture at your local thrift shop or Salvation Army. A lot of large companies also throw out their office furniture rather than repairing it during an upgrade so you can salvage some top quality ergonomic office chairs and desks and save it being thrown into a landfill site.

3. Eco materials for your home office: You can find an abundant of environmentally-friendly and recycled materials for your home office, for instance:

  • Wheat board – for the walls (and it can double as a posting board) as well as floors
  • You can buy 4GB bamboo flash drives as opposed to the plastic variety
  • Moleskine notebooks (made of bamboo pulp) are waterproof with washable covers
  • Sustainable timber – for your desk and storage units
  • Recycled aluminum – again, for office desks, storage units and office chairs
  • Recycled glass – ideal for walls and attractive office desk tops
  • Recycled upholstery – great for throw pillows, stuffed bean bag chairs and desk chair coverings

4. Harness the power of sustainable energy: Look to natural resources with these really aesthetic pieces of office equipment:

5. Recycled or refurbished electronics: Akin to finding used office furniture from large corporations, you can often buy refurbished electronics for a fraction of the cost. Many large companies will host a used electronics sale when it is time to upgrade their computers, laptops, fax machines, photocopiers, printers and office telephones. You can feel good rescuing that refurbished laptop from a life in the scrap yard. Keep in mind that your home office electronics give off VOC emissions as well as other chemical vapors that pollute the air in your home. Try these additional energy-savings tips for a greener home office:

  • Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer—laptops use less energy
  • Unplug the printer, fax machine and computer when your day is over
  • Plug multiple electronics into one power bar so that you can turn them all off with one switch
  • Leave office equipment on timers so that everything automatically shuts down overnight
  • Minimize the number of office electronics you use by purchasing all in one photocopier/printer/scanner/ fax models
  • Use online fax and telephone
  • And when you are finished with your home office electronics, donate them to local schools, shelters or for reuse where needed

6. Refillable/reusable office supplies: When you look for office supplies—such as pens, pencils, files and ink cartridges for your printer—seek out refillable and reusable varieties. And also:

  • Look for recycled plastic products such as pens.
  • Buy pens and printer cartridges with non-toxic inks like vegetable- or soy-based ink
  • Buy multiple packs of pens, Post-it notes and staples to cut down your packaging waste
  • Reuse all of your elastic bands, thumb tacks and paper clips
  • Set up a recycling bin so you don’t throw used up items away

 

Sustainable Kitchen Design-Guest Post

Sustainable Kitchen Design
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate Company, New York Vacation Rentals.

Kitchen design and re-design tends to be the most costly, especially in a larger home. But investing with the environment in mind will certainly save you money and headache in the long run, all while reducing your carbon footprint. Here are some simple tips for creating a greener kitchen.

H20

One of the most earth friendly favors we can do is save water. The easiest way to manufacture a kitchen with this in mind is to install a low-flow facet(s). Ultimately, this will prevent the unwanted waste of clean water while putting a few extra bucks in your pocket every month.

Many of these low-flow faucets actually come built with a sensor that automatically shuts off running water while you’re away from the sink. You’ll also find that many commercial and public restroom faucets are spring-loaded and self-closing, meaning that they’ll shut off just after a few seconds of being turned on. Another increasingly popular, yet expensive luxury is the infrared faucet, which flicks on when your hands are placed underneath. Likewise, it shuts off immediately following a retreat.

Lighting

 Next on the green design list is lighting. Your kitchen is already consuming the most power in the house, with all the large appliances like the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. So, it’s highly recommended to improve energy consumption anywhere possible. Usually, the easiest change would be your lights. This could range from a kitchen fanlight to track lighting above the sink. Next time you stop at your local hardware store, be sure to ask about low energy and LED light bulbs. Not only will you save money on your energy bill, but you’ll be invest in a bulb that lasts much longer than a traditional halogen.

Appliances

Spending extra money to buy an energy star rated appliance will save you a bundle in the long haul. Despite the initial blow, an appliance built with energy ratings in mind will certainly save you 10 – 20 dollars a month over the course of however long you own your home. This could mean anywhere from 5 – 60 years, and that’s a lot of money when you add it up!

Fridges are a given; most energy-star rated refrigerators have an energy saver option which will cut the amount of time spent cooling during the day in half. Yet, it gets a bit trickier when it comes to selecting the right stove. For those who like more control usually select gas over electric, yet there are newer, induction cook tops that will generate heat faster while allowing more control. This translates to less cook time and more money saved each month.

Space

Quite commonly, the installation of energy efficient appliances mixed with the ease of reach and layout is typically referred to as the ‘triangle.” This means that you should be able to reach most of your major appliances without having to move more than a few steps. Yet, the stove should not be facing the fridge because of heat remittance, and the stove should always be somewhat close to the sink for food preparation. Lastly, there should be sufficient counter space directly behind, or near the fridge so that items can be placed from the freezer to the counter top.

Larger kitchens come equipped with an island, which is the center of attention for most people. An island can have a built in vacuum, which allows for easy clean up, while saving you the energy that a normal 12-volt vacuum would consume.

Waste

Aside from composting and making sure to recycle, there’s one particular method that most people nowadays use to rid of excess food waste, while not harming the environment. Garbage disposals are a great way of recycling waste and further supplying water treatment plants with what are known as biosolids – These can thus be used to generate renewable power for the plant.

Floors, Cabinets and Walls

Even if your home isn’t completely built with reclaimed wood, your kitchen can be. Hardwood floors and cabinets made from reclaimed wood or recycled wood products are becoming increasingly popular. It’s also true that you can purchase recycled tile for your kitchen floors and/or walls.

When painting, always use non-or low volatile paint & stain products as to keep the air clean during humid days.

If followed thoroughly, the above recommendations can make for one fantastically sustainable kitchen. The next step would be to decorate it with plenty of green décor and incorporate green cookware into your every day lifestyle!